05 April 2012

How Many Miles to Coventry?

How many miles to Coventry?
Three score miles and ten.
Can I get there by candle-light?
Yes, and back again.
I believe the nursery rhyme originally began with 'How many miles to Babylon?', but I read the above version in Jilly Cooper's Riders and ever since it has stuck. And since Coventry is probably where a large number of you may want to send me after reading this post...it seemed apt :) You see, I have just finished reading Treachery in Death, the 32th book in the Eve Dallas series by JD Robb. And...I've totally fallen out of love with Roarke...and I've almost fallen out of love with Eve.

Let's start with Roarke. In Treachery in Death he empties a safe, the contents of which were part of an investigation. Was he tapped as an 'expert consultant, civilian' for this task as in previous books? With accompanying forms, etc.? No. Was there a police officer with him to preserve the chain of evidence? That would also be a no. I mean, seriously? When did all of those things stop becoming important? The other thing that drives me up the wall about Roarke is how perfect he is. He's just that little bit smarter at 'geek stuff' than Feeney and McNab, that little bit more knowledgeable about criminals and business and...just about everything. And let's not forget that he's a lot richer than everyone else. Actually, we (and the secondary characters) aren't allowed to forget that because it's always brought to our attention in various ways!

And that brings me to Eve. Every case seems to become massively personal to Eve in some way, shape or form. She so reminds me of CSI Miami's Horatio Caine for just that reason. I get that certain cases will trigger memories. But every one? And...she's always getting injured...and denying her need for medical attendance. I'm also very over the obvious and laboured explanations by various characters. About the importance of bringing a particular villain to justice, of seeking closure for a particular victim. Yes, I get that such things are important. But I don't need them spelled out for me in such a manner that I'm being hit over the head with the information.

*light bulb moment* The books are beginning to feel formulaic. There are certain things that you just know will happen...and they do.

And if you're wondering why I'm still reading it's because I love the secondary characters and I enjoy the suspense aspect. And the books themselves are well written and easy to read.

So, have you read this series and are you itching to send me to Coventry for this post? And/or is there are series that you've read which has frustrated you?


  1. They feel VERY formulaic. In fact, I think I ran out of steam on them. I've missed a few and I don't care, which is a bad sign.

  2. I ran out of steam in the middle of Kindred in Death. I didn't finish it, and I haven't tried any of the later books. I agree that they are repetitive. I may go back to them some day, but I doubt it.

  3. I can't believe this series is still going. I read the first book and was like, "That was nice." /interest

  4. Not sending you anywhere--if we all like all the same things in the same way, to the same degree, and for the same reasons, we would all be bored to death.

    I still like them very, very much, though some are better than others. There are a few I know I won't ever re-read but there are also several that I have read a dozen times. To me, the In Death series as a whole is wonderful and a source of such enjoyment and comfort (yes, comfort reads at times) that I'm willing to bear with a couple of meh entries in a row (only has happened once, thank goodness!)

    On the opposite end of the spectrum, a series that annoys the everlasting bejebus out of me, yet I still read, is Ward's BDB. Oh my lord, I hate the slang, the brand name dropping, the contradictory world building, the univoice (all characters use the same slang, have the same speaking rhythm, etc.) And yet...and yet, I just dropped money I can barely afford to buy the last one on release day (via amazon, thanks, but still)

    On those grounds, who am I to judge anyone else's opinions on anything, really? :grin:

  5. I like JD Robb's In Death series enough to read the books but not enough to want to buy or reread any of the books. Your post reminds me that I haven't read any in a while - I think the last one I read was Kindred In Death - but I'm in no rush to request the next book from my local library.

    I think I can now say that I am done with JR Ward's BDB series. I only read Lover Reborn because I forgot to cancel my request at the library. While Lover Reborn was definitely better than Lover Unleashed I have lost all interest and enthusiasm for this series.

  6. Chris - not caring is definitely a bad sign :)

    Eyre - along with not caring, saying you're going back to a series is another bad sign IMHO :) Because there are always other good books to catch your eye :)

    Tasha - it is. Scary, huh?

  7. azteclady - very true :) I think if I re-read any, or would be certain scenes rather than books. I adore Peabody, McNab & especially Charles, so if I could pick out their scenes... = bliss :)

    Oh my lord, I hate the slang, the brand name dropping, the contradictory world building, the univoice (all characters use the same slang, have the same speaking rhythm, etc.)

    Yes. Absolutely. I have Lover Reborn on my library hold list...and I'll no doubt read it. But I can't read it without a ranty post, can I? *evil grin*

    ShellBell - I haven't bought any of them. A lovely friend and the library have got me through. And you're done with the BDB? WOW! You do know the next book is meant to be Qhuay, yes? And it's a hardback?

  8. I am so behind on this series... it all started with the Fantasy in Death, I think... I'm just not in the mood for it anymore. I still love the ones I love, but these new ones I can't get into. It makes me a bit sad. These were auto-buys for me, and now I get them from the library and return them unread :( I may read a couple this year, but I think NR really needs to start thinking about where she wants to take these characters.... when you're on book 44, it's time to start wrapping this thing up, IMO.

  9. Heh - the "How many miles to Babylon" poem always makes me think of Toby Daye. It was a key rhyme for her in one of the later books (and the candle played a big role too!)

    As for Roarke... have you ever thought that he's less an actual character, and more the Macgyver-esque Swiss army knife that Ms Roberts has provided Eve with to take out whenever she needs some help with... well... *anything*. Regardless of the task required, Eve knows there's a suitable Roarke "attachment" that'll get it done (yep, that kind of task too), and get it done better than anyone else on the face of the planet. Or is it just me that sees him that way?

    I think I'm up to Book 8 or 9 (not sure which title) and I'll probably keep reading at the rate of one or two a year. I think to a certain extent, it's like eating McDonalds. Absolutely no nutrition, but there's a certain comfort that comes from knowing *EXACTLY* what you're going to get from it.

  10. Mariana - definitely. I space them out, and I definitely have to be in the mood for them. I feel the characters go through the same motions each book. The crime is different, but the characters aren't.

    Tanja - Roake is so Eve's Swiss army knife! LOL! Brilliant!

  11. Seriously, I gave up on them after the first few. I will admit that I was never all that fond of them to begin with. I also *HATE* series that run for forever like that. Question, over the approximately 40 books, how much aging has gone on? ;)

    One of the few people that I have seen do it well was Mercedes Lackey. And she set hers up as singles, duos, or trilogies within a world setting. And they all took place over a time period of centuries.

    By no means am I saying anything about NR talent as a writer as I own many of her books that I still re-read. I just think that it's time to let go...

  12. As many of you know, I started this series late in the game and have been working my way through the series book by book, month by month. I'm planning on reading Creation in Death before the end of the month, although it doesn't look likely right now. Honestly, I was never head over heels for Roarke. He was kind of thrilling in the beginning.. this rich, successful, gorgeous, incredibly enigmatic and powerful man. And Eve was so NOT any of those things (although I do picture her with an every day kind of beauty.. ). I enjoyed the fact that he had to work at getting Eve to love him comfortably, but aside from that.. he's not really all that exciting. I still love Eve's character very much, including her relationships with all the secondary characters like Peabody, Mavis, Mira, Summerset, Feeney, Charles and even Trina! Now I like the stories in which Eve and Roarke have major fights. I think it's because those are the books in which they and their relationship seem very real. Which is important when a character like Roarke is fairly UNrealistic.

    Since the BDB was brought up ... I dislike all those things you guys name, too. In Lover Reborn, you know what was really pissing me off? [aside from No'One being totally short changed in that relationship!!!] All of those missing question marks. Tell me I am not the only one who noticed this. At first I thought they were editing mistakes. By the time I noticed the 50th missing question mark.. I realized Ward was doing this on purpose. I just can't figure out for the life of me why she would do this. What is the purpose? Because I can tell you right now.. every single time I came across a missing question mark.. it pulled me out of the story for a few seconds. Not a good thing.